Behold, do not I love thee?
Or have I uttered it too much?
Is it not my bounden duty
to lay out my heart now crushed,
to lift it up, extending
the hand of reconciled
love to thee, since our parting
was done in silent exile?
I would not, for sake of pain,
forsake your vesture in me.
Mere absence of romance, disdain
thou not! but now honourably
call upon that same vesture
I have duly made in thee
and restore our convecture
to dwell at last in harmony.
What evil have I wrought thee?
Or what offense in thy sight
by my hand so wickedly
done cause thee to go in flight
from our phileoship, abject
of hope, and leaving me in
my despondence to reflect
on all I did to thee in sin?
Though I count all our impassioned
hours, calling every kiss to mind
from ecstasy or compassion
or intermediary kinds;
Was evil done? Innocence lost?
I meaasure every embrace
and find not one that would so cost
the Christchild's blood or God's grace!
I wrote of thee no word deceit-
ful - you've record of my praises!
Character and Beauty I cheat
not; my lauding of thee raises
thee aloft as brazier-fire
to the mere candlesticks of
women else to be desired
though no longer have we love.
But lovers not, I love thee, friend.
Spite not my outstretched hand,
but take it! ending the first end
and then with me I bid you stand.
Return, O swiftly come once more
to our cameraderie again
and let not the friendship in store
decay and disintegrate in vain!